Baby 101 :: How to Really Get the Boogers Out


Cold/flu season, it’s here {gasp}! If you are a new mama, you likely have the urge to huddle under a blanket in the living room with your baby for the next six months until it’s over, but I am here to tell you that will make you crazy, so please don’t. Take a deep breath, gulp down your vitamin D, elderberry and probiotics or whatever defense mechanism you choose, and get yourself and that precious baby out into some fresh air. It’s worth it, I promise. When your baby does get sick (because they will at some point, no matter what), I hope these tips will help clear their congestion.

Sucking out the boogers sounds easy enough, however I’ve learned mostly along the hard road that the way I was doing it in the beginning wasn’t very effective. My second baby contracted RSV when he was only 10 weeks old and was hospitalized twice for bronchiolitis (a lung infection caused by RSV). Pediatric nurses are amazing at a lot of things, but suctioning out copious mucus is where they really shine! Here is a mix of what I learned from them in the hospital and through trial and error as a mama of four now myself.

I mean, it really just breaks your heart to see them like this. Good news: these steps will really help!

  1. Pre-suction prep

Pre-suctioning prep is key. Get ready to snuggle your baby bundle in some steam. Shut yourself in the bathroom and crank on all the hot water. Sit, play, talk, sing, bounce for 10 minutes or so. If you’d like, add a drop or two of essential oils into the sink or shower. We love the Breath blend from doTERRA when we aren’t feeling well at our house. The steam will help loosen and relax all of that junk in their head, making it easier to suction out. You can also steam again post-suctioning to sooth their cleared out respiratory tract.

  1. Spray & Massage

You can purchase special sterile saline nasal mists at Target or pretty much any drug store. Little Remedies and Simply Saline both make them. Just make sure it is the “mist” kind in the metal can, not the spray/drops in the plastic squeeze bottle because that doesn’t work nearly as well. Once you have your saline ready, swaddle baby tight so they can’t get away and lay them flat. I find this easiest to do on my bed. When they get older and stronger you may need an assist from another adult to hold them down. Now this job is going to require more than a little spritz, mama. Hold and spray saline mist generously for a few seconds. You want to really get a lot of saline up in there to loosen the mucus. Next, massage. Press with your finger firmly at the outer edge of their eyebrow and rub moving your finger to the middle of their forehead and continue down the side of their nose to their nostril. Repeat on the other side. This further helps loosen and move junk out.

My lovely 10-month old daughter is clearly not a fan, but mama is! 

  1. Suction – with the right tool

This is probably the most important part. I have studied the bulb syringe and genuinely tried to make it work well, but I just can’t. I have tried an electric nasal aspirator without much luck either. But what has worked amazingly with all of my children is the Nose Frida. I know you’ve heard of it, but if you don’t have one go put it in your Prime cart NOW! Your baby will hate it (see picture of my screaming daughter), but only for a few seconds. It’s easy to use, easy to clean and really does get the boogers out! The included instructions are simple to follow. Just make sure that you are getting a good seal with the nostril touching the Nose Frida tip all the way around. You may need to play around with the angle you are holding it at to get the best suction. Keep at it until you feel like you’ve gotten out all you can. Keep baby swaddled for this part, otherwise they will be yanking it out of their nose.

  1. Post-suction comfort

Unswaddle your sweet teary bundle and snuggle. They aren’t mad at you anymore ❤ I love to use some baby chest rub on their chest and feet after suctioning as well to further soothe. Our favorite for tiny babies it the Honest Company chest rub (for 3 months +) and for toddlers we love the Zarbees chest rub (for 2 years +). When my littles are congested I also keep a humidifier running in their room while they are sleeping. I like this Vicks warm humidifier best, especially when it gets chilly outside.

Take care out there this season; wishing you lots of clear and cozy snuggles!


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